Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ed. D.


Educational Leadership, Evaluation and Organizational Development

Degree Program

College of Education and Human Development

Committee Chair

Powers, Deborah

Committee Member

Stark, Geneva

Committee Member

Stevens, Doug

Committee Member

Yarbrough, Rachel

Author's Keywords

principal impact; teacher retention; school culture; teacher perceptions; title 1 schools


School districts across the United States are grappling to fill, and to keep, their classrooms operating with qualified teachers, especially in Title 1 certified schools. To ensure a quality education for the millions of students in the nation in the coming years, educational leaders and government officials need to evaluate what can be done to increase the number of teachers staying in their positions. Schools must be better equipped to understand teachers’ sense of belonging and teacher retain and how principal impact contributes to high turnover rates. The purpose of this phenomenological qualitative study was to examine teachers’ perception on principal impact on school culture and teacher retention in Title 1 certified schools. The study helped unveil the contributing factors and lived experiences of teachers who chose to stay or leave a teaching position. Because of this, broad solutions are proposed to address the shortages, and they do not target the specific needs of states, districts, and schools. This study focused specifically on Title 1 certified schools in Kentucky. The interviews conducted with 12 elementary teachers created significant statements about teachers’ sense of belonging and teacher retention. The composite description revealed five themes about how participants experienced teachers’ sense of belonging and teacher retention. This study adds a greater understanding about how and why teachers are leaving their ii positions at such alarming rates, particularly in Title 1 certified elementary schools in Kentucky.